I've been thinking about average women.
I know a lot of women who don't think their lives are all that special. Sure they are special in the sense that they have people who love them and who they love in return. But, perhaps, they feel they aren't making great strides in this world.
They aren't an Oprah or an Angelina Jolie. A Hilary Clinton or Princess Kate.
When I googled famous women, it suggested a list of 100 - living and dead. The historic women are writers and academics and social workers, the living are musicians and actresses (go figure!).
But the women I want to talk about are regular women.
You work hard and rarely make headlines. Many of you have full-time jobs in addition to the work you do at home.
You care for your children. You make meals. You dust. You drive lots of places. You wash clothes. Over and over and over again.
When the alarm clock buzzes, you get up.
When someone calls, you answer.
You work hard.
One of the women in my book, When Others Shuddered, was like that. When I researched Virginia Asher's life, I had difficulty because there wasn't a great deal written about her. She had never stopped to write an autobiography. She was too busy doing ordinary work. She went to school. She married. She helped her husband, who was a pastor. She volunteered. She spent time talking to other women. She held Bible studies.
When you look at Virginia's face, it is rather plain and ordinary. She is a woman you would pass by on the street and never stop to stare.
But what was remarkable about Virginia is that she had this huge heart. In the midst of a fairly ordinary life, she reached out to other women - particularly women who had a tough time in life.
She walked into Chicago's roughest brothel district and went right into the most expensive one. She wasn't there to protest or fight the evils of the day. She just offered to sit with the prostitutes, pray with them, hold the hands of one sick women or write a letter to her worried family. She just loved on them. Quietly, patiently.
When she was working in the city, she noticed that many ordinary women - women like herself - spent long hours in factories for low wages. She decided to start a small lunch for these ordinary women. She offered them sandwiches and Bible study.
At first just a few women attended. Then more. Then it grew beyond her boundaries. Word spread that Virginia Asher was a friend to women. She gave them friendship and hope. Soon, the Virginia Asher Women's Business Council was meeting across the country.
All because of one ordinary woman.
You see, we don't have to be extraordinary. We just have to look and see where we are placed. We have to be willing. We have to work hard.
We are extraordinary, not because of ourselves, but because we serve an extraordinary God.
When Virginia died, women gathered to talk about this "mother" they held dear. Virginia never had a child - it was one of her biggest longings and regrets. But she had thousands of women who called her "mom"...she had inspired them, comforted them, and lived a life of faith that gave them hope.
One woman wrote that not a day would go by that some woman somewhere would not pray and thank God for the life of this ordinary woman: Virginia Asher.
I am thanking God today - for many of you - the regular, ordinary, up -at-dawn punching the clock women. Take courage friends. Your life matters.
God is doing something through you that may not always seem apparent to you at the moment. He will take your small offering of love and hope and hard work and multiply it.
You have influenced one life...mine. And I know He will do great things through you.